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US House probes Harvard’s handling of students protest during Chinese ambassador speech

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(L-R) Harvard students Cosette Wu and Tsering Yangchen after the protest on April 20, 2024 (Photo_Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP (Photo/SFT)

By Tenzin Nyidon 

DHARAMSHALA, July 6: The US House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party initiated an investigation on Monday into Harvard University’s response to student protests during Chinese Ambassador Xie Feng’s speech at the Harvard Kennedy School on April 20. Members of the Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP and Students for a Free Tibet were forcibly removed by an unidentified individual in a dark suit during the event.

Student activists Cosette Wu and Tsering Yangchen interrupted Xie Feng’s address, shouting slogans and condemning China’s human rights record. Following the incident, one of the students was approached by an alleged event organizer who sought the names of those who had challenged the ambassador, according to the House Committee.

“This incident raises serious questions regarding possible transnational repression by the Chinese government and the involvement of international students from China at Harvard in acts of harassment and intimidation condoned by the Chinese government against its critics,” wrote Chairman John Moolenaar. 

Chairman Moolenaar further noted a troubling trend of Chinese students infringing upon their peers’ freedom of expression, citing a recent case in which a former student from the Berkeley College of Music was sentenced for threatening and harassing a fellow Chinese student who had posted pro-democracy fliers on campus.

The speech by Ambassador Xie was organised by the Kennedy School’s Greater China Society as part of its two-day Greater China Conference. During Xie’s opening remarks, six protesters from Students for a Free Tibet and the Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP disrupted the event, holding Tibetan flags and banners denouncing China’s human rights abuses. Harvard University has yet to comment on the incident.

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